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Paris Climate Conference Encourages Reusable Bags

December 4, 2015 8:54 am

France and other nations are including progress to reduce use of plastic bags in favor of reusable bags as one of their goals at the Paris Climate Conference this week. Protecting the oceans has become a priority for its central role in regulating climate, biodiversity, and water sustainability.

According to a press document released by Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy for France, France is urging other countries to reduce disposable bag use, ”The same way France has done it,” by imposing a plastic bag tax and encouraging shoppers to bring their own shopping bags.

Paris and many other major European cities already have a bag ban in place and support that ban with a tax. In Paris, the charge is 6 Euro Cents for every carry out bag. In London, the bag fee is 5 Pence, some of which is collected in an environmental fund. The London bag ban is imposed widely far beyond grocery stores and pharmacies to every retail carry out bag in the city.

France is going further to seek a ban on all plastic bags that are non-compostable, including fruit and vegetable bags. According to the Local, the Paris ban on plastic bags has resulted in an 85% decrease of plastic bags from 10.5 billion to 700 million between 2002 and 2011.

But Minister Royal doesn’t want to stop there. An estimated 5 billion plastic bags are distributed at check-outs and another 12 billion at fruit and vegetable stalls. Her goal is to discourage use of bags at all levels in favor of reusable bags, personal food carts or trolleys, and compostable bags.

As a symbol of plastic waste and a message to consumers that habits must change, plastic bags have become important in the fight for a cleaner world.